Empty vessel makes noise: Ed Miliband’s welfare cuts speech unravelled

Wings over Scotland


Posted on June 06, 2013 by Rev. Stuart Campbell

Below is attached the full text of Labour leader Ed Miliband’s speech in London today.




We’ve translated a few of the trickier passages for you. 


It is great to be here in Newham. Where a Labour Mayor and council are doing so many great things to help get local people back into work. On Monday, Ed Balls gave a speech about how the next Labour government would control public spending.

By cutting benefits so we’ve still got money to spend on replacing Trident.

The biggest item of expenditure alongside the NHS, is the social security budget. The next Labour government will have less money to spend. If we are going to turn our economy round, protect our NHS, and build a stronger country we will have to be laser-focused on how we spend every single pound. Social security spending, vital as it is, cannot be exempt from that discipline.

Only military spending can be.

Now, some people argue that if we want to control social security we have to leave our values at the door. But today I want to argue the opposite. Controlling social security spending and putting decent values at the heart of the system are not conflicting priorities. It is only by reforming social security with the right values that we’ll be able to control costs.

And the system does need reform. And it is only by controlling costs that we can sustain a decent system for the next generation. In every generation the world has changed and Britain’s welfare state has to change with it. We’re no different.

Today we have women at work, not the male world of work that William Beveridge envisaged in the 1940s. We have persistent worklessness, not the full employment of the past. So jobs for everyone who can work and help to make that happen, must be the starting point for social security reform: cutting the costs of worklessness.

It’s all your fault, ladies. We seem to remember that when a Tory minister said the same thing in 2011 Labour called it “shocking” and “rubbish”, but let’s not be churlish.

Today, people often don’t get paid enough in work to make ends meet. And the taxpayer is left picking up the bill for low pay. We must change our economy, so that welfare is not a substitute for good employment and decent jobs. Today the welfare state, through housing benefit, bears the cost for our failure to build enough homes. We have to start investing in homes again, not paying for failure.

And, today, people’s faith in social security has been shaken when it appears that some people get something for nothing and other people get nothing for something – no reward for the years of contribution they make. We have to tackle this too.

“Something for nothing”? This IS the Labour leader’s speech we’re listening to, isn’t it? Have we come to the wrong place?

Overcoming worklessness, rewarding work and tackling low pay, investing in the future and recognising contribution: these are the Labour ways to reform our social security system. And what I want to talk to you about today.

And it is very important I do, because there is an extra responsibility on those who believe in the role of social security to show real determination to reform it. Real long-term reform not the short-term, failing approach of this government. Which leaves hundreds of thousands of people in long-term idleness. Hits the low-paid in work and pretends they are skivers. Forces families into homelessness, driving up bills. Never truly getting to grips with the root causes of social security spending.

You just said all that. Can we fast-forward to what you’re actually going to do about it?

So here is the choice: Remake social security to make it work better for our country and pass on a fair and sustainable system to the next generation, with the Labour Party. Or take the Conservative way: taking support away from working families and those who need it most, always seeking to divide our country and not tackling the deep causes of rising costs.

Let me start with the importance of work. As I have said before: Labour – the party of work – the clue is in the name. Our party was founded on the principles of work. We have always been against the denial of opportunity that comes from not having work. And against the denial of responsibility by those who could work and don’t do so.

Ah yes, we remember. You weren’t set up as some sort of charity to help the poorest in society – the long-term unemployed, the benefit dependent, the drug addicted, the homeless. Because there are already far too many parties speaking up for those bastards, right?

This country needs to be a nation where people who can work, do. Not a country where people who can work are on benefits. That’s about values. And it’s also about making social security sustainable for the future. History teaches us this. The growth rate of social security spending was higher under the Thatcher and Major governments of 1979-97 than under the New Labour governments of 1997-2010. How can this be?

Because they were in power during a major recession, whereas you were in power during a decade-long boom, duh.

Given the Conservative governments pared back benefits, year after year. Whereas the Labour government took action, of which I am proud, to increase tax credits to help make work pay and to address pensioner poverty in a way no previous government had done since the War.

The reason is this: because among the biggest drivers of social security spending are the costs of unemployment. That’s what happened under those Tory governments. Unemployment went up. Now we have heard so much from this government, and from Iain Duncan-Smith, about the importance of work. So surely they’ve promoted it?

The answer is they haven’t. After only three years, just like the Thatcher government, they have a dirty secret about social security. Something they don’t want you to know. Long-term worklessness is now at its highest level for a generation. From this government, that preaches to us about work. About people not being on benefits.

Today, there are more men and women – half a million – who have been out of work for over two years than at any time for sixteen years, in fact since the Labour government took office in May 1997. This worklessness, this waste, under these Tories, is totally at odds with the values of the British people.

The Tories are bad, blah blah. We knew that. Get to the point.

In 2012 youth unemployment alone cost Britain £5 billion. And long periods of unemployment store up costs for the future. This level of unemployment among young men and women means further costs of at least £3 billion per year in the long term in further worklessness and lost tax revenue. Billions of pounds that could be put to far better use. There’s nothing in Labour values that says that this is a good way to spend tax-payers’ money. Britain just can’t afford millions of people out of work.

Now just as there is a minority who should be working and don’t want to, there is a majority who are desperate for work and can’t find it. I think of the young man I met in Long Eaton recently, out of work for four years, desperate for a job. The problem is this government’s Work Programme can leave people like him unemployed year after year after year.

We would put a limit on how long anyone who can work, can stay unemployed, without getting and taking a job. For every young man and woman who has been out of work for more than a year, we would say to every business in the country, we will pay the wages for 25 hours a week, on at least the minimum wage. Fully funded by a tax on bankers’ bonuses.

25 hours a week at the minimum wage for six months isn’t a “job”. It’s a slightly glorified workfare placement, which will make the person on it no better off and save the country nothing, because we’ll be paying just as much in wages and tax credits as we would on benefits.

And at the end of it they’ll be out of work again. Unless the employer actually needs someone to do their job, in which case they would have needed someone to do the job anyway, so all we’ve achieved is to subsidise a company (probably a large tax-dodging multinational, judging by the ones who have signed up to the current workfare programme) by giving them free labour for six months.

The business would provide the training of at least 10 hours a week. And because it is a compulsory jobs guarantee, young people will have an obligation to take a job after a year or lose their benefits. And we will do the same for everyone over 25 unemployed for more than two years.

Those two categories combined will still only encompass around 250,000 people – just 10% of the current unemployed figure. The difference it would make to the overall welfare budget even if half of them kept the “job” permanently is close to zero.

Job Seeker’s Allowance accounts for just 3% of total benefits expenditure. Therefore, if Labour’s workfare scheme led to permanent jobs for half of the people forced onto it – a wildly, insanely optimistic estimate – it would bring about a reduction in the total benefits budget of 0.15%.

And to those who say the work simply isn’t there, I say with a national mission, led from the top of government, we can get thousands of businesses, tens of thousands, in the country behind the idea. Businesses and social enterprises that are desperate to give people a chance. And while the jobs guarantee is national we will make it happen through local action. The kind of local action I’ve seen here in Newham.

And how’s that kind of local action going? “Within London, the highest levels of unemployment are found in Newham.” Oops.

Devolving power and resources to local communities so there can be advice and support suitable for the individual who is looking for work and tailored to the particular needs of businesses in the area. But we need to go further. Parents need choices, particularly when their children are very young.

We know the difference stay-at-home mums and dads can make in the earliest period of a child’s life. But we also know that the ethic of work is an important one to encourage in a household. We do not want worklessness passed down from one generation to another. The last Labour government made significant progress in getting parents in workless households back into work.

But the truth is there is still more we can do. Too many children still live in families without work. And under the current government too little is being done about this. At the moment, if both partners in a couple are out of a job, or a lone parent is out of work, they risk completely losing touch with the world of work when their child is under 5. But all of the evidence is that the longer anyone remains disconnected from the workplace, the more likely they are to stay unemployed for a long period. Bad for them and bad for the country.

And there is something we can do. Thanks to the last Labour government, we now have nursery education available for all 3 and 4 year olds, for 15 hours a week. The very least we should offer and demand is that while their children are at nursery, both partners in a workless household, as well as single parents who aren’t working, should use some of the time to undertake some preparations to help them get ready to go back to work.

Attending regular interviews in the Job Centre, undertaking training, finding out what opportunities exist. To be clear, under this policy there would be no requirement to go back to work until their youngest child is 5. But there would be a pathway back into work for them.

So after all that waffle about the difference stay-at-home parents make in the earliest period of a child’s life, we’re going to send them all out to work (or workfare) anyway. Or humiliating, degrading instruction in how to look for jobs, because people don’t know how to read a newspaper, use a website or visit the Job Centre by themselves.

We should also support disabled people. Those who cannot work. And those who want to work and need help finding it. Successive governments did not do enough to deal with the rise in people on Incapacity Benefit. It was a legacy of unemployment from the years Mrs Thatcher was in power. But the last Labour government should have acted on it sooner.

Yeah, because when you did act, by paying Atos billions of pounds to drive the sick and disabled to suicide, that worked out so tremendously well for everyone.

Towards the end of our time in government, we did introduce tests for the Employment and Support Allowance. That was the right thing to do. And we continue to support tests today. But when over 40% of people win their appeals, it tells you the system isn’t working as it should. And too often people’s experience of the tests is degrading. So this test needs to change.

It needs reform so that it can really distinguish between different situations. Disabled people who cannot work. Disabled people who need help to get into work. And people who can work without support. The test should also be properly focused on helping to identify the real skills of each disabled person and the opportunities they could take up.

So your actual policy is?

I meet so many disabled people desperate to work but who say that the demand that they work is not accompanied by the support they need. So these tests should be connected to a Work Programme that itself is tested on its ability to get disabled people jobs that work for them. So the first piece of a One Nation social security system that controls costs begins with the responsibility to work and the responsibility of government to help make it possible.

Right. And remind us, how is it you’re going to create the four million extra jobs required again? We’re pretty sure you can’t fit EVERYONE onto a nuclear submarine to do some cleaning and sweeping-up, and they don’t have many shelves to stack.

But it is not just about work. It is also about the kind of work that can properly support people and their families. Today in Britain almost three million men and women and almost one and half million children live in families that are going to work and are still not able to escape poverty.

People doing the right thing, trying to support themselves and their children. The last Labour government took action on this, and was right to provide tax credits for those in work. But we didn’t do enough to tackle Britain’s low wage economy, a low wage economy that just leaves the taxpayer facing greater and greater costs subsidising employers.

So the reason we should trust you now, when you failed to tackle this issue in almost a decade and a half of government, is what?

To tackle the problem of poverty at work and to control costs we need to create an economy that genuinely works for working people. I want to teach my kids that it is wrong to be idle on benefits, when you can work. But I also want to teach them that the people in this country who work 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week, do two or even three jobs, should be able to bring up their families without fear of where the next pound is coming from.

So it’s okay for people to have to do three jobs and work 60-hour weeks, as long as that makes them just about enough money to pay the bills? You don’t want to stop that from happening, just make it pay a bit better?

That’s as much an issue as the responsibility to work. Of course, this government has nothing to say about this. Worse than that, they are taking our country in the wrong direction. Their failure on the economy means that real wages have fallen £1,900 since this government came to office.

Because everything was hunky-dory when you left, of course.

We know that this government will never stand up for low and middle-income working people. But our approach for the future needs to make good on what the last Labour government did not achieve.

As William Beveridge envisaged seventy years ago when he founded the social security system we need to understand that there are three sets of people with responsibilities: Government. Individuals. And the private sector, including employers. That’s what One Nation is all about. Responsibility being borne by all.

For too many people in Britain the workplace is nasty, brutish and unfair. The exploitation of zero hours contracts to keep people insecure.

So you’re going to end those, are you?

Using agency workers to unfairly avoid giving people the pay and conditions offered to permanent staff. Recruitment agencies hiring just from overseas. And some employers not paying the minimum wage. These issues too are about our responsibilities to each other. About the failure of government to set the right rules and the failure of a minority of employers. Be in no doubt: all of this is on the agenda of the next Labour government.

So, for example, we will change the law to stop employment agencies using loopholes to undermine the pay of what are effectively full-time employees. And we will do everything in our power to promote the living wage.

You’d be the GOVERNMENT. Everything will be “in your power”. You could make the living wage the national minimum wage and solve the problem at a stroke. Why are you prepared to tolerate people being paid a sub-living wage?

If local councils can say if you want a contract with the council then you need to pay the living wage, then central government should look at doing that too. And for every pound that employers pay above the minimum wage towards a living wage, government would save 50 pence in lower tax credits and benefits and higher revenues. We should look at offering some of these savings back to those employers to persuade them to do the right thing and pay the living wage.

Once again: you’d be the GOVERNMENT. Don’t “persuade” people to pay a living wage. Damn well MAKE them. The right said the legal imposition of a minimum wage would destroy businesses and jobs, but it didn’t. Why would the living wage do so?

It will be tougher to tackle big issues facing our society like child poverty in the next Parliament. But I still think we can make progress if everyone pulls their weight. And it starts with tackling child poverty among families in work, as part of a long-term goal that no-one should have to work for their poverty. So the second plank of our approach is about an economy that works for working people so that we can both keep social security costs under control and work towards a fairer society.

The third plank of our approach is wherever possible we should be investing for the future, not paying for the costs of failure. It is why it is far better to be investing in putting people back to work than paying for them to be idle. It is why it is so important to invest in childcare so we support families as they struggle to balance work and the needs of family life.

So what’s your actual policy?

And the same is true when it comes to one of the biggest drivers of the growth of social security spending in recent decades: housing benefit. We can’t afford to pay billions on ever-rising rents, when we should be building homes to bring down the bill.

Yes, “we” should. Labour was recently in power for 13 years and built fewer houses in every one of those years than John Major’s Conservative administration did.

Thirty years ago for every £100 we spent on housing, £80 was invested in bricks and mortar and £20 was spent on housing benefit. Today, for every £100 we spend on housing, just £5 is invested in bricks and mortar and £95 goes on housing benefit. There’s nothing to be celebrated in that.

And as a consequence we are left with a housing benefit bill that goes up higher and higher. For the simple reason, that we have built too few homes in this country and therefore we see higher and higher prices, particularly in the private sector.

So reintroduce rent controls and solve the problem overnight. Except that your work and pensions secretary said on Radio 4 this morning that that would be going “too far”. Why? Elsewhere in the world, even in the USA, rent controls are normal.

Now, this government talks a lot about getting housing benefit under control. But let me be clear: any attempt to control housing benefit costs which fails to build more homes is destined to fail. For all the cuts this government has made to housing benefit, it is still rising and it is forecast to carry on rising too.

Of course, there is an issue of values here too. In 2011, there were 10 cases where £100,000 a year was spent on housing benefit for individual families. That’s 10 too many. And it is one of the reasons why Labour has said we would support a cap on overall benefits.

So you’re going to hold the victims responsible, and punish tenants in expensive areas for the greed of their landlords?

As Ed Balls said on Monday, an independent body should advise government on how best to design this cap to avoid it pushing people into homelessness and costing more. But the real, long-term solution is clear: we have to do what hasn’t been done for three decades and to move from benefits to building.

Currently Britain is building fewer new homes than at any time since the 1920s. Ed Balls talked on Monday about how we invest for the future of our country. Clearly, the building of homes is high on that list. This will be a priority of the next Labour government.

Funded how?

But just like tackling worklessness, we can’t do it from central government alone. We will need every local authority in Britain to be part of this effort. At the moment, we expect individual families to negotiate with their landlords. In these circumstances, it is almost inevitable that tenants end up paying over the odds. And so does the taxpayer, in the housing benefit bill.

It’s time to tackle this problem at source. So a Labour government would seek a radical devolution to local authorities. And Labour councils in Lewisham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham have all come to us and said that if they had power to negotiate on behalf of tenants on housing benefit, they could get far greater savings than the individual on their own. So a Labour government would give councils this power. Bringing the cost of housing benefit down.

The power to negotiate? With what leverage, when housing demand so massively outstrips supply? Reintroduce rent controls and no negotiation is required. But of course, that might frighten the rich landlords whose votes you also want.

(And they’d presumably be just as frightened if they thought these “negotiations” might bring about the same result, so clearly they won’t.)

And what is more, we would let them keep some of the savings they make on the condition that they invested that money in helping build new homes.

Except there won’t be any savings. Why would landlords negotiate lower rents? Where else is the council going to house everyone?

This is the way we can start to bring about the shift from benefits to building. Bringing the housing benefit bill down for the long-term too. And it is a One Nation solution: enforcing the responsibilities of government and private landlords.

How would you be “enforcing” anything? As with the living wage, you appear to be pinning all your hopes on “persuading” people who have absolutely no incentive to be persuaded. “Enforcing” means using force, not persuasion. The clue’s in the name.

So the third plank of a One Nation social security system is to invest in the future, not to pay for failure.

The fourth and final plank is around recognising contribution. We do that by recognising the importance of supporting families, through maternity and paternity leave and pay, child benefit and child tax credit.

We do that by providing support to people with disabilities, both those who cannot work and also to those who can work, but whose extra needs it is right to recognise. Of course, it is right to make sure that we have the right tests in this area too. Which is why we support tests for Personal Independence Payments, but again they must be done in the right way.

So what’s your actual policy?

We also recognise contribution by supporting elderly women and men who have contributed to our country throughout their lives. On pensions, we know we have a rising elderly population and a rising budget. The way to make this sustainable is to ensure that we increase the number of people in the working population supporting our elderly. And therefore to show a willingness to adjust the retirement age.

So you’re going to “support elderly women and men who have contributed to our country throughout their lives” by… forcing them to contribute for a few more years.

Of course, there needs to be proper notice, but as people live longer, the age at which people retire will have to increase. All of Britain’s elderly men and women deserve dignity in retirement, after a lifetime of contribution to our country.

Of course, in poor parts of the country, the retirement age will be higher than life expectancy, so the elderly in deprived areas will literally have to work until they die. Some savings made there, well done.

That’s why there will always be a place for universal support at the heart of our welfare system. Like an NHS for all. A proper basic state pension for all those who’ve paid in. But whether it is relation to pensioners or children there is always a balance that has to be struck between universal, contributory and means-tested benefits.

With so many difficult choices facing the next Labour government, we have to be realistic about what we can afford. So it doesn’t make sense to continue sending a cheque every year for Winter Fuel Allowance to the richest pensioners in the country. Equally, when it comes to the decisions of the next Labour government it won’t be our biggest priority to overturn the decisions this government has made on taking child benefit away from families earning over £50,000 a year.

So you’re going to keep Tory cuts, and add some new cuts of your own, even though in the latter case the costs of the bureaucracy required to mean-test 12 million pensioners will almost certainly be more than the money saved.

But in one important respect our social security system fails to recognise contribution: the service of those currently of working age. Last week, I met somebody who had worked all his life, for 40 years, in the scaffolding business. What does the social security system offer him if he falls out of work? It’s the same as someone who has been working for just a couple of years. That can’t be right.

Can’t it? If I pay household insurance for 40 years and my house burns down, I don’t get more money than my next-door neighbour in an identical house that also burned down in the fire but where he’s only lived for two years. That’s not how insurance works.

I can’t promise to turn the clock back to Beveridge and nor do I want to. Our society isn’t the same as it was back then, with most men at work and women at home. But the idea that people should get something back for all they’ve put in is a value deeply felt by the British people. So I believe we should look at the support that is offered to those who fall out of work and the contribution on which it is based.

Currently, after two years of work, someone is entitled to “Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance” without a means test for six months. They get £72 per week. Whether they’ve worked for two years or forty years. Two years of work is a short period to gain entitlement to extra help. And £72 is in no sense a proper recognition of how much somebody who has worked for many decades has paid into the system.

As so many people have told me: “I have worked all my life, I have never had a day on benefits, and no real help is there when I needed it.” So I have asked our Policy Review to look at whether, without spending extra money, we can change the system. Asking people to work longer – say 5 years instead of 2 – before they qualify for extra support.

So you’re slashing the benefit entitlements of people who’ve worked for two, three or four years, in order to give more money arbitrarily to people who’ve worked longer, regardless of the actual needs of either group?

But at the same time making that extra support more generous to better reward contribution. This is particularly important for older workers who find it harder to get back into work at a level similar to their previous occupation. And we will look at accompanying this with extra help back into work for older workers who lose their jobs.

You’re going to “look at” it? Terrific. Good to know. (And we all know what “help” actually means in the context of getting people back to work nowadays – harassment and sanctions.)

And as we look to reform this contributory part of our welfare system, we should also examine ways to take account of some of the other kinds of contribution people make, like mums looking after very young children and children looking after their elderly parents. Because we want to send a signal about the real importance that the next Labour government attaches to recognising contribution.

So your actual policy is?

So the four building blocks of a One Nation social security system are: work, rewarding work, investing for the future not paying for failure, and recognising contribution. A system that is sustainable. And one which reflects the values of the British people. But I believe we need to do more in these tough times in how we plan social security spending.

In Labour’s last period in office we introduced the three-year spending review. Enabling departments, like any business, to properly plan three years ahead. Throughout previous generations, there had been an annual spending round, rows between ministers, arguments between Departments, leaks to the newspapers. A bit like now really under this government. It makes much more sense to plan ahead.

Hang on. Every time someone asks you what your policies are, you say “We can’t possibly know that right now, because we don’t know what will be the situation in 2015.” But as soon as you’re actually IN power, you’re going to somehow magically gain the ability to plan for the future?

I believe we should extend this approach from Departmental spending to social security spending. So that planning social security over three years should become a central part of each spending review. And I also believe that a cap on social security spending should be part of that planning process. Because what governments should be doing is looking three years ahead and setting a clear limit within which social security would have to operate.

…regardless of what the actual situation is.

Now, clearly there are detailed issues that need to be worked on to make any cap sensible. The government has also talked about a cap on social security. And we will look at their proposals.

In particular, they are right we need to be able to separate the short-term costs of social security – those that come from immediate downturns in the economy – from the big, long-term causes of rising spending that should be within a cap, like housing costs and structural unemployment. And we need also to consider how to cope year to year with higher than expected inflation and how to treat the impact of an ageing population.

You’ve already told us what you’re going to do about that – ramp up the retirement age and means-test benefits for old folk, assuming they live long enough to claim any.

The starting point for the next Labour government will be that in 2015/16 we would inherit plans for social security spending from this government. Any changes from those plans will need to be fully funded. For example, if we were in government today we would be reversing the millionaire’s tax cut to help make work pay through tax credits.

Today I am delivering a clear statement about One Nation Labour’s principles for social security spending: the next Labour government will use a 3-year cap on structural welfare spending to help control costs. Such a cap will alert the next Labour government to problems coming down the track.

Wait, what? Putting a cap on spending so it can’t react to events will tell you when there are likely to be more events? Who came up with this policy, Gypsy Rose Lee?

And ensure that we make policy to keep the social security budget in limits. Introducing greater discipline, as ministers from across departments will be led to control the big drivers of spending.


So here is the choice that people will face at the general election. I have set out how we can control the social security budget. Not in anecdote or as part of a political game or as a way of dividing the country. But as a way to reform the system so that it meets the values of the British people.

Yes. You’re going to cut benefits for poor people. Radical.

I have set out the values that would drive a One Nation social security system in government. But there is another choice on offer from David Cameron. I will tell you that there is a minority who don’t work but should. He will tell you anyone looking for work is a skiver. I will tell you that we need to protect the dignity of work and make work pay.

But you won’t actually DO anything about it. You won’t raise the minimum wage to a living wage. You won’t legislate to keep rents down. You’re happy for people to keep having to do three jobs and work 60-hour weeks to make ends meet.

He will hit the low-paid in work. I will tell you that we do need to get the housing benefit bill down with a cap that works, but crucially by investing in homes and tackling private landlords. He will make the problem worse by making people homeless and driving up the bill. I will tell you that we always need to value contribution in the system.

So you’re going to cut benefits even more for young people, mothers forced into the job market and the disabled – all the people who haven’t built up years of contributions, but often the people in the most need.

He will hit people who work hard and do the right thing. We will tackle the deep, long-term causes of social security spending and tackle the costs of failure like housing benefit, worklessness and the problem of low pay. They will not. We must pass on to our children a social security system that is sustainable. And a system that works and is supported.

We can use the talents of everyone. Demand responsibility. And seek to move forward as a united country. Or we can have politicians who seek to use every opportunity to divide this country and set one group of people against another.

I believe this country is always at its best when it is united. One Nation. Everyone playing their part. That is the social security system I want to build. That’s the future I want to build for Britain.


And remember, readers – even this dismal offering is predicated on Ed Miliband becoming the next Prime Minister, and then keeping his promises, both of which are long shots to say the least. So, who wants to stay in the UK?

Wings Over Scotland 

Update 7th June, 2013

‘Labour leader Ed Miliband would not abolish the Atos tests’:


The hidden welfare state that the U.K. government (and Labour) dares not speak of Posted on May 15, 2013

Tory (and Labour) Ideology is all about Handouts to the Wealthy paid for by the Poor


80 thoughts on “Empty vessel makes noise: Ed Miliband’s welfare cuts speech unravelled

  1. Mary Jackson says:

    Look the simple choice is this, Do people want David Cameron in as prime Minster for another five years, ( in which case this country is finshed) Or Ed Milliband, where there is some hope, that things may be better, In a FPTP system that is your choice, Now I want a socialist Labour government, ( I would also like to win the lottery) both of which is never going to happen, untill the voting system is changed to PR, I say give Labour a chance, it’s that or see the country go down the plughole under Cameron

    1. Tom Webster says:

      While I can agree that, on a spectrum of maliciousness, Cameron et al are worse than Miliband, there are more options than accepting the lesser evil. We have a responsibility to spend the time before the next election making it clear to Labour that they have failed to provide sufficient opposition to the coalition, that there is an expectation for Labour to provide much more than Tory-lite and that not everyone has been taken in by the neo-con press. That involves demos, contacting MPs and MSPs and working to make our voice heard. ‘Giving Labour a chance’ is insufficient when they think a different rhetoric on similar policies is sufficient difference.

      1. Mary Jackson says:

        I agree with you, but simply not voting, Or voting for one of the smaller party’s is not an option as it let’s the Tories in under FPTP, ( No matter what Nigel Farage tells you) I want the Tories gone, and there is only one party that will get rid of them and that is Labour

    2. terryindorset says:

      Are you serious or just living on another planet Mary? New Labour & Gordon Brown especially worshipped the banks & they brought the economy crashing down…..for goodness sake, STOP VOTING for any of them. How else can we teach the bastards a lesson they cannot ignore?

      1. Mary Jackson says:

        I am not living on another planet, but it seems you are, When labour left office we had a modest Growth, ( Thanks to Alistair Darling) As soon as the Tories took over George Osbourne set about thrashing it, You may not like to admit it but those are the facts,

          1. hugosmum70 says:

            shes not. shes using her brain. when you have finished trashing people for their opinions maybe you can tell me if you are doing anything practical about all these gripes of yours. i,e. are you going to London tomorrow to take part in the IF campaign against hunger. its going on all week. not voting will get you precisely nowhere. it will just keep the cons in power. you want more of what they’ve given us so far? then carry on.i for one dont. and i know of hundreds of others who dont. you arent for others. you arent for those already homeless, destitute, with no money, and whose health is deteriorating because of it, you cant be or you wouldnt be rubbishing the only party we have who can help. you talk of only voting for someone you can trust, and who might that be? because while i could trust milliband up to a point, i couldnt trust balls as far as i could throw him. his wife yes but not him.have met him. hes smarmy and promises all sorts then doesnt deliver. so come on tell us. who are you going to put your trust in?
            theres nothing wrong with edging bets and hoping the one you vote for will do whats right. thats all we have ever been able to do.

          2. Mary Jackson says:

            So a growth of 1.5% is being delusional,? these are the governments own figures, Don’t take my word for it, Google it, (If you dare) Or is it far easier to stick your head in the sand,?

  2. hugosmum70 says:

    Mary Jackson is right. we already know what cameron and his lot are capable of (though i suspect there is worse to come from their maggotty brains yet). Milliband is not Blair, totally different person, with different ideas. which to me sound better than what we’ve got. nothing is going to be perfect because you cannot please all the people all of the time. in a country that is increasingly now eroding ALL but the millionaire classes, where millions of people are now being affected in one way or another (I have seen how people have changed from being tories shouting about skivers etc to angry people because THEY HAVE FINALLY BEEN AFFECTED in one way or another. watch Facebook. its happening all the time.) UKIP are just another offshoot of the conservatives with even more cruel ideas. lib dens are finished as a party. we only have labour so we will have to rely on milliband getting in in 2015 and keeping to what he says while stopping the worst of the austerity cuts where he can, if only until he can tackle each of them. he cannot be expected to tackle allll the cuts at once. doing so much so quickly as the libcondems have done has led to even them not really having a clue as to what they’ve done ,when .,how etc. he will have to tackle each thing properly and come up with a good alternative that wont throw people out of their homes, into work when ill/too disabled etc. it WILL be a tough job but if we support him . (and he doesn’t forget his own roots) i am sure that within the following 2 years we will see some changes that are good and dont take away human dignity and rights.

    1. justin thyme says:

      the ‘New Labour’ party have already enabled the removal of our dignity and rights. It will be New Labour policy to continue the oppression of disabled people, the poor and unemployed – they have already pledged not to remove the ‘bedroom tax’ and reduce the welfare bill. You obviously believe the propaganda – you talk rubbish

      1. hugosmum70 says:

        @ justin thyme….do i really, well to me its common sense. and yes i do believe him. got no one else TO believe in.and God only knows we have to believe him if we want this lot out. no good relying on smaller parties., they wont get enough votes.,,, and anyway for one its not NEW labour., that was blairs labour party not millibands. 2. he HAS said he will stop the bedroom tax. on several occasions. first time in worcester . a while ago. and i do not talk rubbish. its common sense. he is not tony blair.,. he is untried .=you cannot say he will do this or that if hes not said anything bout it. your surmising on what blair and brown led labour did and would do. unless you are a mind reader you cannot know what hes going to do. and i doubt you are that.he has never said he wont repeal the bedroom tax/ what he has said is he will reverse what he can but as he nor anyone knows the extent that the cons will go to before 2015 he cannot say what or if he will repeal anything. also whatever he says he will do, the cons will do anything they can to stop him doing it.even changing the laws. so hes better off keeping his mouth shut till nearer the time. sounds to me like people are so fickle, they will jump on anything no matter what it is, just to have a go at him.
        and if we are not to believe him, who the hell DO we believe? because all the rest of the big parties are liars.proven ones.

        1. terryindorset says:

          I’ve just read this & am stunned that you believe anything any politician, or any other functionary connected with any arm of government, says. Living thus far has taught me that they’re all liars, thieves & cheats, with their hands & snouts in the public money trough, waiting for it to be replenished by the gullible taxpayer. They ALL enter ‘public life’ for personal enrichment & for no other reason.

          1. hugosmum70 says:

            well. if i didn’t believe there was at least one politician we could believe in, i might as well go and join the other 73 or more who commit suicide per week because what they believed and their whole lives were taken away from them till they felt there was nothing to go on for.
            what about Michael Meacher for instance? if any politician was on our side he surely must be. i get his emails every night. each one tackling a different subject that is oppressing the British people. or the majority of them, in one way or another.and on each occasion he is talking about how its affecting one group of people or another.
            you talk as if there is nothing left to believe in. and in all MY years, i have never given up hope that things could get better.i have no way of knowing how old you are terry but you cant beat my age by THAT many years.and you dont get to my age without learning one thing. where there’s no hope there’s no life.so we have to have hope that someone who is untested may just get us out of this mess. its a sure fire thing that the libs/cons or UKIP (tory boys) will not do it.

  3. Humanity2012 says:

    It is an Utter Outrage the Price Hikes on the Cost of Food in an Economic Crisis

    Price Hikes of 50%Increase and a Quarter Decrease in Portion Amount of Food are Not Ethical and Need to be Banned.

    We Need Price Controls upon the Maximum Cost of Food.

    All too Often people are paying for Packaging and Not Actual Food.

    Best Wishes Naomi


  4. Humanity2012 says:

    Indeed it is a Cause of Impoverishment the Continual Price
    Hikes in the Cost of Food

    Question is when it will be Stopped ?

  5. Humanity2012 says:

    What is the Bloody Point of an Opposition if they do Not
    Provide either Choice or Opposition

    We Need a Better Opposition than this Present Bunch of Dummies

    Redistribution of Wealth from Rich to Poor than the Continual
    Oppression of the Poor

    We Need the Vulnerable to be Protected Not Victimised

    Cap MPS Salaries and Expenses Not Welfare

  6. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    No one has said they are going to bring back Legal Aid & Travel Passes for the disabled.

    1. hugosmum70 says:

      wasn’t aware that travel passes had been stopped for the disabled. when did this happen? i still have mine AND its being accepted on the buses.i use a disabled one not a pensioners and its for a companion too.

      1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

        Not sure if the disabled travel passes have stopped yet or will. They were talking about stopping them. That will be next tho.

        1. hugosmum70 says:

          yes they WERE talking about stopping them along with the annual fuel payment to pensioners but i think it was shelved till after 2015 to keep their promise to pensioners not to touch their benefits. but they have said will not keep to that if they get in next time.(not that their promises are worth jack s**t of course.

  7. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    There won`t be another elected government for decades. It will all be colition governments. Next Con/Lab.


    Equality is a marvelous thing…
    Its a word that means totally nothing, pie in the sky a pipe dream..
    Feel sorry for the Queen though!
    So soon after she put her monicker on the Welfare Reform Act that re-invents pestilence,drudgery,depression and even death on us mere plebs, she has been faced with hubby going into hospital for an exploratory operation….
    Equality meant no waiting lists, no cancelled appointments, no queueing at surgery, no waiting outside in an ambulance, no waiting in accident and emergency, no trips to other health authorities because of lack of beds etc etc…
    Some may deem it luck or fortune, i deem it vile and disgusting at every level.
    I have donated blood,paid taxes and national insurance, but i know my place in society……….
    I am nothing,never will be anything and personally proud to be like this.
    Blue blood is in short supply, mine would never do. Anyway, it almost certainly contains peasant traits, the sign of a bad upbringing, a life of eating the wrong things and mixing in the wrong circles……………..
    Not seen the lady in the crown in Asda recently. Surely she must recognise me?
    I’m the guy looking on the out of date,reduced counter. Even the corgi’s would’nt eat some of the things i buy……..

    Equality, a word without meaning?

    …………..and as for the Labour Party, it’s ok, i know my station in life, exactly at the bottom of the totem pole of life. The very place you want to keep me…………………

  9. Trevor says:

    When is it going to dawn on credulous Labour supporting posters that their philosophy of better Ed than Dave is a false choice? Voting for the lesser evil (Labour) over something worse (Tories/LibDems) is no solution; indeed it’s debatable whether “blue” Labour is any more progressive than the nasty ol’ Conservatives since they’re increasingly indistinguishable.

    The only remedy is the abolition of the rotten economic system (capitalism) that creates such misery and suffering, and its replacement by a sane alternative (socialism, in its original sense before it was corrupted beyond all recognition by the likes of reformist parties such as Labour, and, far worse, so-called “communist” outfits: namely the Bolsheviks and their offshoots, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc).

    Until then, things are going to steadily deteriorate for the poorest as our political masters have decided welfare states are now surplus to requirements and can be safely dispensed with.

    1. terryindorset says:

      Well said Trevor but my advice is to stop voting altogether & then see what they’ll do. I’m so pee’d off with the lot of them that I stopped voting 3 yrs ago. That Mad Miliband was the decision point for me…..

      1. Mary Jackson says:

        So you stopped voting,? Wow that’s really going to change thing’s, You are playing right in to the Tories hands, by not voting, May i make a suggestion,? If you are not happy with the voting system, stand as a MP and fight to change things, Or is it easier to just moan,

        1. terryindorset says:

          I loathe the lot of the lying crooks & I’ll only vote for people who are trustworthy.
          Voting just encourages them….are you really that gullible?

        2. justin thyme says:

          As if voting means anything – a corrupt system upholding a corrupt constitution – what choice is there in the real world???? mary you need to take a rest in a darkened room and then see a therapist

        3. FrankieP says:

          To assume and preach that people have a moral responsibility to vote when no one is representing them is akin to expecting a diabetic to pick from the dessert menu.

          Also, it’s just as undemocratic as people not having the vote at all. I abstain because I will not be complicit.

          The lower the turnout, the less authority the government has (whichever one it is), and the political class ignore that at their peril.

          1. hugosmum70 says:

            @ FrankieP….and isn’t that exactly WHY we have this terrible coalition government doing so much evil in this country? the polls 2 years ago were a low turn out. it didn’t help that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE (rumoured to be david cameron) had a good number of polling stations closed down early leaving queues of fuming people stood outside…. fuming at not being allowed to vote.
            this is the only way the conservatives got in/ because clegg went on their side. if we dont vote then the tories will get in again. we have to stop that no matter what. we have no option but to trust milliband. think its time people stopped casting doubt in other peoples minds with all this supposition of what milliband will do when no one knows WHAT he will do. the cons /libs all told us what they were going to do and whats happened? completely the opposite. but that was to be expected they are millionaires living in cloud cuckoo and never never land combined. haven’t a clue about anyone not on the rich list. they ARE tried and tested and found very much wanting.whereas milliband is not tried and tested and has known genuine poverty. went to ordinary schools until he was lucky enough to get to university. as loads of ordinary kids do every year. would you continue to back a horse that never won a race? course you wouldn’t …if you had any sense. but you might back an outsider with something going for it. and if you think that’s all rubbish then your the ones that are mental.

  10. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    I agree with both of you, why vote for something that does not represent the views that we hold………..

    Well said lads….

    When the proverbial, hits the fan, they will have only one thing to blame, themselves

  11. bobchewie says:

    ‘workless’ sounds a bit like ‘worthless’….is thats how Ed sees them? you know them, the people with dark curtains drawn and are only homeless because they are all druggies and are there by choice and sickness is a lifestyle choice isnt it? it must be the Daily Hate tells us so..this is just more of the same old bullshit and lies from the ‘big three’….

  12. bobchewie says:

    i posted on Eds speech yesterday and used to google + discus thing to identify myself..today i thought i would add this BTC link and it correctly identified , I went to post it and got this..

    “You do not have permission to post on this thread” wow!

    so is Ed and the labour party getting touchy now???

      1. bobchewie says:

        @hugosmum i just posted that there seesm to be counter blogs now….so what with the MSM now we have this shit..

  13. Prola Tariat says:

    He cant be serious,he must have got his speech mixed up with Camerons script writer, unless hes found a sense of humour and its all just a big joke ?

    1. terryindorset says:

      Yes it’s a joke. It’s all a big joke. The joke is the crooks have their hands in the trough & we keep filling the trough up…….the joke’s on us taxpayers & the vast majority don’t care.

  14. disabled-dave says:

    Bloody hell! I managed to find one sensible sentence:

    “Today, people often don’t get paid enough in work to make ends meet. And the taxpayer is left picking up the bill for low pay. We must change our economy, so that welfare is not a substitute for good employment and decent jobs.”

    As I have posted before on this site, if you take out the old age pensions, 75% of welfare benefits go to people in work, and the reason people in work need the benefits is because the employers do not pay a living wage. So the poor old tax-payer ends up having to subsidise a company’s wage bill.

    The simple solution is to have a minimum wage sufficiently high that people in work would get enough to live on so they don’t need benefits in order to survive. This would result in a 75% drop in non-pension benefits AND make sure that working always pays more than benefits.

    Plus of course these people would then be paying more tax on their higher wages so tax income would go up, and they would be spending the extra wages which would get the economy moving. End of problem.

    So why have we still got the problem?

    1. hugosmum70 says:

      that of course is IF employers will pay more. if its made compulsory whats to say they wont cut their workforce instead of their profits? the money has to come from somewhere. that in turn will throw more people out of work. can see where your thinking lies but it really is swings and roundabouts. too many greedy sods at the top of these businesses. thats why so many joined in with workfare. workers for nothing. they, the bosses, must have thought their ships had all come home at once.

      1. bobchewie says:

        @hugosmum but you see theres a ‘weakness in the benefit system’ according to a judge and daily hatemail that allows fraudsters to exploit . This despite atos . Benefit fraud squad and jcp sanctions.

        1. hugosmum70 says:

          well we all know by now that that weakness represents only 0.05% of benefit claimants. while other “benefit” fraud is committed to the tune of many more billions by those in power.IDS charging gods amount for a USB lead he could have got from pound-land, for ….well £1.. the breakfasts costing as much as if not more than a weeks shopping for a single person. dont think i need to go on. we all know all the ways that ministers take from the tax payer. am wondering though where that comes into whether bosses will pay a bigger minimum wage if its brought in,without making some of their workforce redundant??? how would fraudsters exploiting the system have anything to do with the bosses (who are in full time work or at least reaping the rewards from their emporiums/factories etc)refusing to pay a new minimum wage thus leading to people losing their jobs?

  15. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    A 23% turn-out or less for a general election is meaningless. The rhetoric the country has spoken [not the 23%] but the 77% has spoken by not voting. 23% turn-out for another coalition government Con/Lab. 77% of the nation has spoken by not voting. Makes politics a farse.

    1. hugosmum70 says:

      they,the 77%, might have spoken by their silence, but it didn’t stop the lib dems getting in did it? if you dont tell them verbally or in writing, they are too dumb to understand that 77% of the electorate dont want them in.they are blinkered to that.

  16. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Voting don`t mean nothing just coalitions that were never voted in. it`s all corporate politics.

    1. terryindorset says:

      REMEMBER – politics is designed for politicians not the mug voter. Don’t play the game. Stop them in their tracks by not voting.

      1. hugosmum70 says:

        @terryindorset.and the rest advocating this silly idea of not voting… wouldnt you just love it if people did what your advocating. you would be sure of getting your beloved conservatives back in at the next election wouldnt you then.

        1. terryindorset says:

          Idiot….I’m anti-establishment (or whatever you want to call it) & I’ve never voted Tory. I’ve voted Liberal in the past before realising it’s all a joke. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than vote Tory!!!
          I don’t vote for any of the crooks on offer.

          1. hugosmum70 says:

            how dare you call me an idiot………i can only go by what your saying. i dont know you and you dont know me and frankly anyone who resorts to name calling in that way. i dont WANT to know. proves you have lost it SIR. if you will TALK as if you were a tory then you can expect people to THINK you are one.NUFF SAID.

              1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

                When`s the General Strike gonna happen. Last one 1926.

              2. hugosmum70 says:

                supposed to be a democracy. it seems its more of a mockery than anything.but i will definitely be voting. anti-establishment . whatever its called, is just another type of rebellion.

              3. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

                There are no rebelions in politics. The Blair government started fining people £1,000 if you was not on the voting register.

  17. hugosmum70 says:

    cant you just tell how many conservatives are on this site.calling anyone who dares to sound like labour foolish or telling them they are talking rubbish etc. and all the time rubbishing everything about labour.

          1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

            I won`t bother telling that to them because they are all getting the sack & face criminal charges.

  18. Mary Jackson says:

    Laura,People will have to turn off the TV and stop watching BGT, Man United, or any of the other rubbish they put on TV to keep the people a sleep, for people power to have any effect, And I don’t see that happing anytime soon

  19. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Am I the only one who has not filled out their ESA bogus form let alone sent it back. Have not been cut off yet. Since it seems to be an unpresidented case.

      1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

        That is what I am trying to find out, if anyone else has not sent back the ESA form & what happens next. I am ready.

      1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

        ESA form not fit for purpose. Why? many reasons,
        1. It has nothing about disability just a foot note = It`s an unemployment form that denies people being an unemployment figure.

        2. Integrity Department = A Private company trading on the stock exchange. They have stamped Integrity over the not yet filled out form in the questions bit not at the end. Any faults makes it not fit for purpose or the paper it`s written on.

        3. in fact ther are over 20 reasons why the ESA Form has nothing to do with the Disabled.

        I am on SDA & not on ESA my circumstances have not changed.

        1. bobchewie says:

          @BLACK TRAINGLE AND EVERYONE !!!! I knew this was going to happen, just didnt know when, since claimant blogsites have become popular i knew before long that the govt and their lackeys would retalitiate with counter blogs..well here is just one….
          let me say first that pretty much all the ”facts ‘ can be shot down..with eg the the sheffiled hallam one of which i am familiar by now (its the 900,000 one) the author of this disreputable blog omits the fact that the people who were on incapacity were LEGITIMATELY placed there due to the severity of there conditions..i note he quotes them as the ‘hidden’ unemployed which is what sheffiled hallam says in the report but he just leaves out the part that they were on IB because of their illness NOT what he claims..



              1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

                @bobchewie I meant the info you just gave. Thanks

              2. bobchewie says:

                @stepping razor sound plate ok thanks best spread the word..you know i knew this was gonn happen..i wonder who is producing this crap?…..and all these ‘FACTS’ …as i say i can challenge at leats one of them as i know where he got it from…as i have same document….

  20. Landless Peasant says:

    Labour can get stuffed it that’s all they’re offering – more austerity, more persecution of people on Benefits, further attacks against our Social Security system. Labour have betrayed us. VOTE GREEN or RESPECT.

    1. terryindorset says:

      Don’t vote for ANY of them…..there is no alternative.
      They want our votes so teach them a lesson & say No….

  21. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Once ATOS & the DWP have found us not disabled & fit for work, they have taken away any Human Rights you might of had. We are not disabled so it is not breaking Disbility Human Rights because no one is disabled. Not only has democracy gone but all Human Rights Disabled Laws becuase we have no disability. To prove disability is to prove the Disability Human Rights Laws.

    1. bobchewie says:

      @STEPPING RAZOR SOUND PLATE er can everyone be on the lookout for anymore of this propganda blogs??

Leave a Reply